A GRIP ON SPORTS
I sure hope whoever is in charge of the weather understands Hoopfest is this weekend. And it's not supposed to rain around here on Hoopfest. If it does, there will be heck to pay. Read on.
• We bring up Hoopfest because the Coeur d'Alene Ironman was held yesterday. There have been years when both events are on the same weekend, which isn't the best planning if you want better media coverage in the market. But this year they are in back-to-back weekends. That made me wonder. How many people do both? I recently ran into former Central Valley and Whitworth basketball star Bryan Depew and neglected to ask him if he was in that category. Depew, a 6-foot-6 post who graduated as Whitworth's all-time leading scorer, has slimmed down considerably for his post-basketball physical activity, taking part in Ironman competitions. And yes, he finished the Coeur d'Alene Ironman yesterday, which had to be a bit more taxing than scoring 30 against Willamette. But I'm not sure he is up to entering the elite group that has been able to complete an Ironman/Hoopfest doubleheader. In fact, I'm not sure anyone has. If you know of anyone, let me know with a note in the comments section below. It interests me. Just knowing there is someone out there who could conquer an hour-long swim one weekend and a guy who wraps both arms around but swears it wasn't a foul the next, it makes my heart soar. That's the type of athlete we need to have on posters. And in beer commercials.
• WSU: The final event of the collegiate season begins its championship series today, with UCLA facing Mississippi State in the college World Series final series. The Bruins have won 108 NCAA team titles, but have yet to win a baseball crown. Neither have the Bulldogs.
• Ironman: A couple of professionals set records to win Sunday's triathlon as 2,238 men and women competed in the grueling competition. Jim Meehan has the story of the professional race. And there are a lot of pictures here.
• Mariners: They say a mistake is a mistake only if you don't learn from it. So Kendrys Morales learned from his a few years ago. You know what I'm referring to, Morales hitting a game-winning home run against the Mariners, then breaking his leg so badly in the post-play celebration he missed much of two seasons. When Morales hit his second career walk-off home run yesterday, giving the M's a 6-3, 10-inning victory over the Oakland A's and a series win, he took it easy at home plate. … After all, he doesn't want to become Franklin Gutierrez. If you had "game two" of his most recent comeback as the game he would leave due to injury, you win. He had hamstring problems yesterday. … Morales' home run was of the pinch-hit variety, as Eric Wedge was trying to give him two days of rest. The M's have today off. … The other three runs the M's scored came courtesy of Raul Ibanez, who keeps climbing up the ladder of players with most home runs in a season past age 41.
• I'm no Ironman, that's for sure. I'm not even a Hoopfest participant anymore. But I am a fan – and admire folks who can still get out there an do both, especially when they are 15 years older than Raul Ibanez, as I am. Until later …